Things to do in Portland – Visit Powells

This posting perhaps sounds like one of those paid for advertisements, so let’s first clear that up. What follows is my own personal recommendation, I have not bee approached by Powells or anybody who represents them in any way, and I never ever do paid for ads or any kind of ads … period.

I do of course get lots of offers, so be aware, if you approach me for a placed article, I will simply ignore your email. I write what I write, not to earn $$$ … heck, I don’t even have a donate button. I made a decision some time ago that I want to retain full and complete freedom to express my thoughts and never walk the road of writing in a specific way or style that is designed to invoke hits for clicks. To be honest, I simply (sex) have no ideas (nudes) on what I could (naked) write that just might (sex) motivate people to click anyway.

Is Powells really the largest independent bookstore on the planet?

The website claims …

Powell’s City of Books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books. Located in downtown Portland’s Pearl District, the City of Books has nine color-coded rooms and over 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles. Dozens of acclaimed writers, artists, and thinkers visit each month to read in the Basil Hallward Gallery (located upstairs in the Pearl Room). A one-of-a-kind Rare Book Room draws bibliophiles from near and far to browse an impressive collection of autographed first editions and other collectible volumes. And our Espresso Book Machine provides instant access to hard-to-find titles and gives anyone the power to publish a book.

So being a lover of books, I just had to check this out.

Bottom Line … I believe them, no seriously I really do. Here below for example is a small part of the Science Fiction section that has titles for authors whose names start with the letter A and B …

So here are a few more randomly selected pictures I sneakily took when the staff were not looking. It perhaps in some ways reminds me of a maze filled with treasure at every turn. You basically have two choices – wander about and let the whatever you trip over be a surprise, or grab one of their maps …

If you do wander about looking lost, as I did, then you may be approached by staff eager to play the role of knight-to-the-rescue. Just advise them, “No no, I enjoy being lost, and being generally befuddled and confused is my normal default mode” … and so off they then go to seek out other pilgrims seeking safe refuge.

The Good the bad and the Ugly

OK yes, they will cater to all tastes, and that includes the observation that they had a section that sells bullshit to the gullible …

But hey, its just business and this is Bigfoot’s Oregon, a place that has a reputation for all of the above being mandatory.


Like many such stores, they have a coffee shop which might look like any other and has prices your would anticipate … and yet …

.. it does bring a small twist to it all with the seating. They have bench tables, so when it is full then you are forced to interact with other humans, and to (gasp!) talk to them or perhaps not and simply bury your head in a book you randomly pulled off the shelf.

It it simply a coincidence that the section to one side of the coffee shop, a place where you interact with other humans, is the erotic literature section. Seriously … I’m not making that up.

In Summary : Four Things I really liked

  • They open at 9am every day including Sunday’s and stay open until 11pm
  • Both new and used books are mixed, they simply stick both into the appropriate section.
  • They have not simply survived the onslaught of the e-reader, but have thrived and flourished. In effect they have given the e-reader the middle finger (yea).
  • This is not simply a tourist attraction, it is part of the beating heart of Portland

If in town, then I can very strongly encourage you to go check it out. If you don’t, then you will be missing a huge part of Portland. Oh and to state the obvious, don’t forget to leave some empty space in your backpack, because you will soon be filling it up.

One last word of warning – Be aware – if you go there with others, then it will take you a long time to find them again (make sure you have their numbers on speed dial). Again, I’m not kidding, I speak from experience on that one.

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